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Dayton School Officials Say Bus Drivers Earn 'Competitive' Wages

The Ohio Supreme Court is considering the role of the school bus driver for student safety.
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Dayton Public Schools students are heading back to class on Thursday, and the district’s bus drivers will have a slight bump in pay when they return. More money was a sticking point during contract talks that went on for more than a year between the drivers' union and the Dayton Public Schools (DPS).

The contract agreement reached this spring required DPS to commission a study comparing its pay with other Ohio districts.

Beginning DPS drivers will now earn $13.31 per hour, which is a 2 percent increase. The district’s most seasoned drivers will make $18.53.

The drivers’ union pointed out both hourly wages are a few dollars less than what districts like Kettering and Mad River offer. According to the study, Kettering and Mad River drivers can earn about $21.00. But DPS attorney JylllianGuerriero says you have to look at the big picture.

“Dayton Public Schools guarantees a minimum work day for our drivers at at least six hours per day, which other districts do not offer,” she said.

A veteran DPS driver can make at least $111 each day. And according to the study, a driver with the same experience in Kettering might make only $32 even though the hourly rate is higher. The study shows that district has a minimum work day of 1.5 hours.

Guerriero says other incentives like vacation days, sick time and attendance bonuses should help keep drivers in the district.

Attendance has been an issue in the past and many parents have complained about busses showing up late or not at all. Guerriero says the new contract won’t fix all the kinks in the bus system that transports roughly 12,000 students to and from schools each day, but it’s a start.

District officials say they should have enough drivers to fill all positions, though they are always looking to hire substitutes and temporary drivers.

Guerriero says this study proves the district’s pay is competitive and the information will be useful during the next round of negotiations in 2017.